1. Thank you for this article, Mark. My friend and I were just discussing our own WIPS and wondering if we were making them too dark ourselves.
    It’s good to hear your opinion on this and your cautions. I really appreciate it.

  2. The Devil’s main interest is destruction. He comes for no other reason but to kill, and to steal, and to destroy. Satan could not enjoy being worshipped. He cannot enjoy anything (C. S. Lewis’s introduction to the Screwtape Letters is a great discourse on this matter). Really, if Satan ever did deal with a race of beings, his only goal would be to destroy them. We turn Satan into a “bad version of God,” and assume he would want the things God wants (worship, adoration, obedience); but he would not want those things. Those things are not what he shows up for. That’s why I am a little reticent to give the Devil more than his due, which is what Jesus stated in the verse quoted reference above. The old Rolling Stones Song “Sympathy for the Devil” begins, “Permit me to introduce myself. / I’m a man of wealth and taste.” But Satan could not be a man of wealth and taste because he is incapable of enjoying the things that wealth and taste enable (fine food, art, music, beauty). He has three purposes, and that’s all.

    • Even if that’s true, he could desire and pursue those things as a means to an end. Being ‘a man of wealth and taste’ would be a way to tempt some people into listening to him. People can be destroyed by wealth, poverty, and every level in between.

    • notleia says:

      It’s actually a pretty interesting topic, how the perception of Satan has changed, especially when they slapped on things that related more to Hades than OG Satan (wealth, sophistication a la Mephistopheles).

    • Mark Carver says:

      That is exactly the point that I make in these books. It’s possible to get the wrong idea from the synopsis and marketing materials, but there is no “Kingdom of Satan” in a literal sense, with Lucifer sitting on an infernal throne with the Whore of Babylon by his side. Satan only shows up in these books for a few sentences. The kingdom that follows is wholly man-driven and man-centric, which is what Satan wants. He doesn’t want a kingdom for himself; he just wants people to worship anything but the true God.

    • I’d like to see how you can clearly elucidate Satan’s only purposes and desires from the Scripture text alone.

      • Mark Carver says:

        Let’s think about it: Satan is very smart. He also knows that the Bible is the word of God and everything in it has or will come to pass. It is clear from Scriptures that God will return and set up His eternal kingdom on earth, so Satan would have no illusions of overthrowing God and changing the course of prophesied history. So what is left to do? Pour out his wrath on God’s people and try to deceive as many unbelievers as he can. There is only one true God; there are a million false gods. Satan’s plan of trying to divert man’s attention from God onto anything else is very apparent in Scripture.

        • There’s a lot of wiggle room in that, though. Is Satan dark, angry, and carefully strategic, or is he clever but also sadistic and playful? Those are just two personality variations that can make a world of difference in purpose and behavior.

  3. I just finished the Jane Hawk series by Dean Koontz. I read them for the story and skimmed a lot of the chapters, especially scenes with the villains, because for my taste Mr. Koontz goes overboard in portraying evil. Some ideas are hard to get out of one’s head, so I try not to let them in.
    I think, as you say, Mark, that there’s a place to show what evil is capable of, but also that an author has a responsibility not to revel in shock and horror. If I want to see evil, I only have to read the national news. But also the reader has to be responsible for himself, and not take on more than he can handle.
    Who knows, your books may show the light to some readers who would never read Christian fiction, but love dark stuff.

What do you think?